Re-Baking Polymer Clay Will Not Harm Your Beads

Re-Baking Polymer Clay

Vid #036: Here’s A Good Reason Why You Might Want to Bake Your Polymer Clay Beads More Than Once:

It’s absolutely OK to bake your clay beads as many times as you like. This won’t damage them at all. In fact, baking in multiple stages is a good way to add layered design elements that would otherwise be difficult to do on a soft unbaked bead in only one step.

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The full version of the “Re-Baking Your Beads” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course [SEE Video #36 of 39]. Re-baking polymer clay is an excellent way to add new design elements to your beads. I’ll often create a base bead using scrap clay and then then bake it hard before layering on some delicate cane slices. I discuss this technique in more detail in the video.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 18 March, 2008

    Baking beads in stages is also a good way to avoid smooshing one part of the bead while adding on another. For example on a dimensional bead such as one covered in 3-D flowers… You can bake the base bead; add the flowers on; and then bake again. You may event want to add some vines in a separate stage and bake it again.

    Being able to re-bake your beads means that a lot more options are available to you. As a creative person, I always think that more options the better!

  2. Janet, 20 June, 2008

    HELP ..My clay is still soft after baking ! What am i doing wrong? Baked a bead and a 1/4 inch flat circle .I baked at 275 and then 278 using SculpeeII (as pack indicates )clay for 30 min.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 20 June, 2008

    Hi Janet, Your oven is probably not holding the temperature consistently for the whole time and the polymers in the clay are not bonding properly. Bake your clay for 1 hr instead of 30 min. This will help dramatically!

    You can also read this article about polymer clay baking times for more info that might help you out.

  4. Dori, 08 December, 2008

    Hello again. Recently while making some flat clay cookie cutter pieces for my christmas tree, i discovered that sometimes the clay would curl slightly and not lay flat. I wondered what to do to keep things flat. I found an eye pillow I had made some time ago using flax seeds for filling. This worked great when placed on the item right out of the oven. I have used this a number of times now and it works fine for me. Just thought you might find it useful. Thanks!

  5. Cindy Lietz, 08 December, 2008

    That is a cool idea Dori! I bet that works really well for preventing the edges from curling up!

    When I bake flat sheets, I bake them in a Ceramic Tile Sandwich. It not only keeps them flat but also helps to prevent air bubbles and funny gaps on the back. You can click the link by my name to go to an article about that.

  6. Christine, 24 February, 2009

    Hi Cindy, Christine from UK. I was wondering if you could recommend a pen that I can use to write names or words on a polymer bead after baking and before varnishing. I am tempted to use pencil lol but any tips would be great, something that will not fade in the long run. I have not tried normal pen ink as it might smudge it. Thanks for your time, Christine.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 24 February, 2009

    Hi Christine! Gel pens work pretty well with baked polymer clay, if you can get the ink to flow. It is not a bad idea to pop it back into the oven after you’ve written on the clay, so the ink can heat set.

    As far as finishes, I’ve only tried Future Floor Finish with the gel pen and it works great without smudging as long as it is heat set. I would test it if you want to try a different finish though, since I can’t tell you for absolute sure if it will work or not.

    Click the link by my name for more info on Future Floor Finish.

  8. Caroline, 11 May, 2009

    Can you please let me know if it’s possible to bake Fimo and then attach an unbaked piece and re-bake the first bit again too. This is probably really a silly question but I haven’t used it yet and want to know if I can make ‘bits’ at different times. If this is possible how many times can one piece be safely baked and re-baked. Thank you very much for your time. Caroline.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 13 May, 2009

    No that is not a silly question at all Caroline!

    Yes you can bake a piece as many times as you like. You can add more clay and re-bake over and over until your project is done. Many sculptors do that so they don’t ruin something that is perfect (like a nose on a face) while their working on something else (like the ears).

    For more info on baking, click the link by my name.

  10. Faber Draconis, 02 November, 2009

    Hi @ all,

    I´m just a beginner at PC and after getting mad of ruining unfinished parts of my work i want to try your tip to bake the finished parts.
    But I wonder if the clay stays where its supposed to, for example when adding a hand to an arm or your axample of the ear to the head.
    Does unbaked PC stick to the baked parts or do I have to build some support structure to make that sure?
    The link leads to my blog with pics of my advance with PC

  11. Cindy Lietz, 02 November, 2009

    Hi Faber, Welcome! Great questions! First of all let me say you do very good sculptural work! I can see how it would make you mad to ruin a part of your sculpture while working on another part. You can definitely bake your sculpts in stages.

    Most light pieces will stick on without moving if you put some liquid polymer clay like Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS) or the new and even better product called Studio by Sculpey Bake and Bond. Just put the glue like liquid on the baked sculpted piece where you want to add your raw additions and you’ll be fine.

    For larger heavier pieces you may need some support while baking, but since the rest of the piece will be hard already, this will be much easier.

    I have heard of sculptors using Vaseline instead of the liquid clay for bonding baked and raw pieces together, but since I have not tried that, I can’t say how well it works.

    I hope that helps. If you want more info on Bake and Bond, click the link by my name.

    I see you are from Germany. What city are you from?

  12. Faber Draconis, 02 November, 2009

    Thanks Cindy,
    I´ll give it a try.
    My hometown is north of Hamburg, called Nortorf. It´s my 1st try with sculpting and it´s huge fun :)
    So I guess future work will come. Do you have a gallery, where works can be shown?

    Greetings Faber Draconis

  13. Cindy Lietz, 03 November, 2009

    Please do keep us updated on your progress. In regards to a gallery, my blog here is my gallery. I post daily photos. By clicking on the Home Page link at the top of the page, you can scroll through through 30 pics, each of which have “read more” links for more info. After scrolling through the first set of 30 images, you will see a link that says “NEXT PAGE (older stuff)” that will take you to the next set of 30 photos. If you keep doing this, you’ll find over 600 images to review.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 03 November, 2009

    Me again Faber. I just re-read your “gallery” question, and see that I may have interpreted it wrong. If you are looking to display pictures of YOUR work on my site, yes that is possible. I do it selectively in Spotlight features. Click the link by name for more info. Also use “spotlight” as the keyword in the search box at the top of the page, to get a list of other Spotlight features you can review as well.

  15. Faber Draconis, 10 November, 2009

    I tried another way, to prevent destruction of ready sculpting parts :
    I bought a scalable heatgun and stabilize those parts, a work of only some minutes :)
    The price of 50 € (~ 70 $) was a good investment.

  16. Diana Ball, 19 June, 2014

    I just found you on the Web I was looking up baking times because my bowls are too frail to handle. 60 min should cure that problem. The question is can I take those 15Min cured bowls and rebake them adding the additional time. They are about a year old now just sitting in a drawer too frail to handle. They are like small cereal size bowls . Thank you for all info.

  17. Cindy Lietz, 21 June, 2014

    Hi Diana, welcome! You are right that your pieces are probably under cured and is most likely the reason for them being brittle. It could also be the brand of clay you are using. Brands like Sculpey III and Craftsmart are pretty brittle, even when baked at the proper temp and time. I would see if you could rescue your bowls by baking them again. Get an oven thermometer and make sure the temp is correct and bake for a full hour. Make sure to tent it so it doesn’t scorch. Hopefully that fixes your fragile bowl situation. For more info on all things polymer clay, use the search box at the top of the page. We have tons of posts, tutorials and comments that will help you find success with your polymer clay projects!

  18. Sarah F, 14 May, 2016

    I m new at polymer clay ana I read a lot about it before using it and I read the article u wrote about baking its very useful but I have problem with white clay I baked it in a foil pan and I put a yellow piece too with it and buried them in cornstarch and covered it with foil for about 60 min the yellow piece is good but the white turned pale and light grey I dont know why and what to do to get white color after baking..

  19. Cindy Lietz, 16 May, 2016

    Hi Sarah, are you sure the clay was white and not White Translucent? That could end up looking off. Another thing could be the brand. Premo bakes up to a nice bright white, but many of the other brands do not. It could also have been the temp being too high. Make sure you are using an oven thermometer to be sure your oven is at the correct temp. Lots of them are off by a few degrees. The cornstarch should have protected your pieces. So look into the things I suggested, and do a search on the blog for more baking videos, if you run into more problems. Good luck! Let us know how it goes…

  20. Bernadette R, 08 June, 2016


    I’m a beginner. I primarily started doing all this to make clay covers for my journals as I have seen some beautiful polymer clay journals.

    My question is, I have been planning maybe too many journals at once and started baking pieces that would go on the journal once I do the full cover. I’m writing this wrong I think.

    How can I adhere the flat baked polymer clay pieces I have been doing to the final sheer pieces of clay I’m going to cover the journal with?
    Can I add baked clay to baked clay?
    Like, I have made palm trees , surf board, beach stuff but the main clay cover will have the sand and the water background.

    How do you suggest I do it?
    I’m afraid of rebaking my first pieces because my oven got too hot and I have since learned it goes to higher temp.
    So I don’t want to burn my baked pieces.

    I could add the baked pieces into the unbaked background so it all goes together then? That seems like the best idea but don’t want to burn anything.

    Another question, I have the jacquard pearl ex powdered pigments and add them to pieces after the clay dries. Was I supposed to refire them or is that good enough for those, like a patina.
    I’m learning, I promise! I just thought it would be easier to do a lot of my stuff separate and then add it later and then didn’t think what might happen.

    Hopefully you’ll be able to respond to help me and this isn’t a really old thread.

    All my best


  21. Cindy Lietz, 13 June, 2016

    Hi Bernadette, that is very exciting that you are a beginner and have so many plans! You have some great questions! Did you know I have a 6-part video tutorial specifically about Making Polymer Clay Journals. It’s very inexpensive and would be very helpful for you.

  22. Bernadette R, 13 June, 2016

    Thank you for responding, no I did not. I will watch it and hopefully you will answer the questions for me.
    I am currently waiting for a bunch of silicone molds to come in the mail, however I have been pulling stencils off the internet, using my xacto and that has been working great with some items.

    My main this it that because I bake each piece separately , I assume I can just glue the pieces to the final clay journal cover when I’m done?

    I read more about the Pearl Ex pigments that I have.

    I also decided to start using a toaster over as my main oven is way too hot. The toaster oven gets very hot on 250 and above.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your video. Thanks again for adding it!

  23. Nefeli N, 16 June, 2016

    Hi Cindy,
    I need your help. I have faced the following problem.
    I followed your tips of how to bake my clay projects. I used PREMO Sculpey (white colour), I used cornflour to bury and protect my test samples in a foil pan, I used a thick office paper to place my projects on, I used an oven thermometer to be sure of the correct temperature (and indeed this helped a lot, because the temperature of my oven was 10 degrees off), One project was 5mm thickness and the other 3mm thickness. I baked them for one hour at 130oC following the thermometer temperature. After one hour, I opened the door oven and let the projects cool in the oven. So far, no problem at all. The white colour was brilliant, it did not change at all!!
    However, when it was about time to test them, I tried to bend the project of 3mm thickness and IT BROKE. What did I do wrong?
    Another question please. Im planning to paint the baked project using Alcohol Ink. I will wait so that the ink dries. Do I have to rebake the project and then apply a matt varnish to seal it, so in case of using parfum, the color does not run?

    Hopefully I will have your response and understand where I did go wrong. Thank you a lot for your help.

    N.B. To Sarah F.. Please try to use PREMO Sculpey White Colour. You will not have any problem, the colour will come out brilliant.

  24. Cindy Lietz, 16 June, 2016

    Hi Nefeli, One thing that can happen when you bake in cornstarch is that the cornstarch can leach out some of the plasticizers and make the clay brittle. This only happens if the clay has been sitting in the cornstarch for a while before it gets baked. Another thing that can happen is if your piece is buried too deep and the heat can’t get at your clay. In that case you can bake for longer and bump up the heat a bit. I rarely bake in cornstarch unless I am working with a piece that needs a lot of support from underneath like a flower or something. I usually bake in a metal baking pan with several layers of cardstock in the bottom and a tinfoil pan lid. I have lots of videos on baking and tenting, which it sounds like you have watched many. It sometimes takes a few tweaks to get your set up perfect for what you are making, so don’t despair. You’ll soon be baking strong and beautiful (and White!) pieces without any problems at all! :)

  25. Nefeli N, 16 June, 2016

    Hi Cindy, Thank you for your advice. It was my mistake, I forgot to mention I placed the projects in the cornflour just before baking them just because for the reason you referred to cornflour.

    I made two projects, one of 5mm and one of 3mm.
    The 5mm was ok. .. It’s the 3mm which broke, so I need to ask, If one hour was sufficient time to bake the 5mm, shouldn’t the same time be more than enough for the 3mm?
    Im really worried, what will happen if I make a much thinner project?
    Can you please explain what you mean by — “bump up the heat a bit” — ?

    Next time I will avoid the cornflour and instead I will use layers of cardboard.

    As Im still in the process of experimenting, I want to paint the baked project using Alcohol Ink… Do I have to rebake the project and then apply a matt varnish to seal it, so in case of using parfum, the color does not run?
    Thanks again a lot for your help.

  26. Cindy Lietz, 17 June, 2016

    The thin pieces should be just fine if they are properly baked. If they are breaking it can only mean a few things… either the temp isn’t high enough (it might not be reaching your piece inside the cornstarch so you may need to bake at a little higher temp than 275F. Try 280F or 285F when you have your pieces in cornstarch. 275 when they are just on a tray lined with paper and covered with a tin foil lid.)

    Or it may need to bake longer…

    Or you’re using a brittle brand like Craftsmart or SculpeyIII…

    Or the plasticizers have been leached too much out of the clay and isn’t helping to ‘melt’ the particles together and bond properly.

    Yes you may want to seal a piece that has alcohol ink on it if it going to be exposed to perfume.

  27. Nefeli N, 17 June, 2016

    Hi Cindy, It seems that I made a disaster !! .. My project of 5mm broke as well, just like a rubber.

    I sent you yesterday another message about some queries and please advise me what to do.

    Definitely next time I will not use cornflour but instead cardboard. Should I bake next time the projects for less than 1 hour or more? I really don’t know. SCARED !! :))

    Please also let me know about the painting, if I have to rebake the project so that it gets heat set and for how long do we rebake a project other than being painted or added delicate design.
    Thanks a lot for your help.

  28. Cindy Lietz, 20 June, 2016

    It sounds like you would benefit from taking my Beginners Course Nefeli. It will help you greatly with all of the challenges that you are having. You can also try using the search box for answers to specific questions since it is too hard for me to answer them in such detail on a one to one basis. Just about every beginner polymer clay topic has been discussed at length in the various posts and comment threads that have been published to date. That little search box may just become your new best friend :-)

  29. Bernadette R, 17 June, 2016

    I noticed that my toaster oven on 275 is like broil and causes my Sculpey 3 to burn very quickly , bubble like crazy and ruins it.

    I have had to check the temp. I put it on 175 for 20 minutes and my smaller stuff is done.

    Anything bigger , a little longer. I don’t know how people can keep these in there for an hour at 275.

    I’m new at it though, so maybe I’m doing something wrong but it certainly looks better when I keep it on that time temp and time.

    I just want to know if I can design a square pieces to cover my journal and then out the pieces I have already cooked, on there when I cook it so they can all come together or if I should just cook the main cover and glue my pieces to it afterward?

  30. Cindy Lietz, 20 June, 2016

    Sounds like your small toaster oven has too many hot spots to bake properly. On something like a journal cover, it is going to be very important that your piece is baked for a full hour, or you most definitely will have breakage. I recommend you use a bigger oven and also for your best success, you should be buying the Vol-068 Journal Cover Tutorial as well. It will help you to avoid problems in the future.

  31. Jocelyn C., 27 June, 2016

    Bernadette, used to have the same problem with mine and was able to fix it. Just need to find some medium sized stones, glass rounds, or tiles and line the bottom of the oven with them They help moderate the temps. You can google this in the search, there are several blogs and comment sections that are loaded with great ideas for absorbing the heat spikes.

    In the meantime, you can be saving up for the supremo poly clay ovens, usually with convection features, digital temp settings, and more room for more clay projects.

  32. Nefeli N, 21 June, 2016

    Hi Cindy, Thank you for your advice, I will for sure use the search box as I already do that a lot along with watching your tutorial videos.
    However, may I, by all respect, say something?
    This comment area has been created, I believe so, for all of us who need your expert help and advice as an experienced polymer clay tutor and everyone will be benefited from each other’s questions. Then what for the creation of this comment tool?
    Unless this comment box has been created for experienced or advanced polymer clay users, then just like me, there will always be new people joining the polymer clay club for the first time and it is logic to have queries. I have read other people’s queries, (and indeed helped me a lot as a beginner), and sometimes even asking more questions than me, yet, you are still there to answer their queries.
    But anyway, I will continue my searching to get the answers so that I improve myself. Thank you in advance for your response.

  33. Jocelyn C., 27 June, 2016

    I’ve read this comment several times and I still can’t get a feel on it. Could you repeat the problem using different words?

    If you are complaining that folks are not responding to you fast enough or thoroughly enough, cool beans. No tutorial or blog site on the craft based internet is going to hold your hand minute by minute, it’s just not cost effective for folks who a providing a service to feed families. But those of us in this community should jump in and assist, because it’s how we all learned. Sorry if you had a rough start, do stick with us, LOL!

    Also, for most of us, it’s early summer, so we are outside vacationing or at the beach. Watch the responses back, and you can literally detect storm patterns, where more folks come inside and focus on PCT. Same for seasonal variations.

    If I interpreted this right, Cindy’s advice is spot on. You need to slow down, calm down, and learn at your own pace. If you know nothing about the art form (and trust me every last one of us here started there), then you need to invest the time in learning. If you start small and build, all of a sudden you will reach the point where lots of stuff will suddenly make sense, and before you know it, you’re a freight train, and able to assist others.

    During the winter, I spend hours reading on this site. I learn so much from Cindy, Doug, and a limitless array of very talented peeps who hang here.

    Glad to see you here, and shout out if you need more assistance.

  34. Jayce Hermanson, 24 July, 2017

    Hi, I’m not sure if this question has been asked or not, but I have some baked pieces of polymer that I have painted with acrylic paint. I was wondering if they can be baked again with the acrylic paint? I want to attach some more clay to a part where I haven’t painted yet. Thank you for any help! :)

  35. Cindy Lietz, 01 August, 2017

    Hi Jayce, the short answer is yes you can rebake a piece even if it has been painted. Since this is a common question, I will also answer it a little more in depth in a future LIVE Q&A Broadcast.

    Join us every Wednesday at 11AM Pacific Time on our Facebook Page to hear me answer questions just like this LIVE. If you can’t be there at that time, the replay will be available at this link here on the blog as well.

    Hope to see you there!

  36. Julie Thornock, 18 December, 2017

    Can an unbaked piece be successfully bonded to a baked piece without using liquid clay or Vaseline?

  37. Cindy Lietz, 19 December, 2017

    Hi Julie, you can bond unbaked clay with raw clay without any liquid clay as long as the raw clay is pretty soft and a little on the sticky side. If it is too firm or dry it may not stick as well to the baked surface. As far as using Vaseline, I don’t have advice on that, because I have never used it.

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